The first two episodes of The Only Way is Essex have proven explosive.
But not in an entertaining way.
Fireworks provide entertainment at the cost of harmless combustion, yet what we’ve witnessed in TOWIE is missile-like verbal attacks, launched at female partners for nothing more than cheap TV amusement.
Viewers have not been entertained. They have felt awkward. Uncomfortable. Threatened.
Has TOWIE been glamorising relationship abuse? At the very minimum, you have to agree that they’ve documented it.
Catching up on #towie witnessing a man mentally abuse and degrade a woman on TV- switching off!
— Katie Piper (@KatiePiper_) April 2, 2018
The key incident that has sparked outrage and controversy on social media came in episode two, where James ‘Lockie’ Lock launched a scathing verbal attack on his girlfriend.
Pointing his finger and bubbling with anger, Lockie maliciously lashed out at his partner as he attempted to justify a similar outburst from the previous night.
We know, digging a massive hole.
Lockie called his so-called lover a “f*cking brat” as a tsunami of obscenities swept over his usual vocabulary.
The unscripted, un-rehearsed comments were vile. Lockie’s girlfriend was left in tears. So was her friend.
Actually thinking of boycotting #Towie – it seems like this show is showing the younger generation that it’s ok for men to verbally abuse women like Lockie and Myles. It will never be ok and it’s disgusting. End of
— Helena 🍍 (@HelenaSwaby) April 2, 2018
A one-off, you might say?
In the follow-up episode and Myles Barnett’s behaviour was equally as disgusting.
The hysterical boyfriend hollered abuse at his partner, shamelessly brandishing her a “slut” in a fierce public row.
OMG the way the boys speak to their girlfriends on towie is a disgrace…last week lockie and now this week myles 😷😷😷
— Emily Nelson (@emilygeorgiaa) April 1, 2018
Social media quickly highlighted both incidents, tweeting Myles’s girlfriend Courtney Green and Lockie’s lover Yasmin Oukhellou, not only comforting the reality TV stars but urging them to walk away from their “abuse relationships”.
Twitter has even called on the TOWIE hierarchy to axe the shamed male stars.
Fans are devastated that the producers showed such ignorance towards the issue and are shocked that they thought audiences would simply roll over and accept the behaviour.
#itv #towie really shouldn't be showing these vile abusive men on television. Domestic abuse is not entertainment. How far will you let them go? Hitting? Biting? Sexual assault? Sort it out and sack them.
— Amy (@amyanders123) April 3, 2018
For the benefit of reality TV, perhaps they should be sacked.
There are continuous debates about the sincerity of reality TV, with those who decided to turn a blind eye to TOWIE’s ‘explosive’ opening two episodes reassuring themselves with the belief that the poisonous fights were nothing more than a product of scripting and rehearsal.
Clearly, these people have never seen raw emotion in its true flesh and colour.
The vividness of Lockie and Myles’s abusive arguments suggest nothing less than a real-life, ferocious, uncontrollable and heat of the moment outburst.
Oh it was real, all right.
#towie promoting and glamourising emotional abuse on national TV is NOT OK! These men are VILE and NASTY pieces of work. Your target audience is young girls. You have a responsibility to those young girls! Uncomfortable viewing this season. @ITVBe
— Ms Ali (@MissAli_Drama) April 1, 2018
The Only Way is Essex has in no way glamorised verbal abuse.
But it has documented it.
The shape of reality TV goes down to the viewer, and how we react to the increasingly risky content producers are feeding us.
They’re saying “what about this, is this acceptable?”
The future is in your hands.